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"I can’t believe they included Quibble-Man but not The Human Quibble!"
July 11, 2008 2:51 PM   Subscribe

The 50 top comicbook characters, according to Empire.
posted by Artw (153 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
Wow. That is slow.
posted by Debaser626 at 2:58 PM on July 11, 2008


Web Designer Who Lists Everything In One Go So I Don't Have To Wait For The Goddamn Page To Load Fifty Times is tops on my list.
posted by Shepherd at 2:58 PM on July 11, 2008 [6 favorites]


Er, make that Web Designer Who Lists Everything In One Go So I Don't Have To Wait For The Goddamn Page To Load Fifty Times Person.
posted by Shepherd at 2:59 PM on July 11, 2008


Quicklinks to the top ten:

1. Superman
2. Batman
3. John Constantine
4. Wolverine
5. Spiderman
6. The Sandman
7. Judge Dredd
8. The Jocker
9. Magneto
10. The thing
posted by Artw at 3:02 PM on July 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


That's funny. The thought of this list and the exclusion of Hellblazer protagonist John Constantine is what finally drove me to register an account, and now I've been hit with some preemptive foot-in-mouth syndrome seeing that he scored in the bronze position.

I'll have to give this list a more in-depth look.
posted by Donnie VandenBos at 3:03 PM on July 11, 2008


Saw this yesterday. It's a poor list IMO; more of a popularity contest than a top anything. Judge Dredd shouldn't be in any top ten. Does Vladek Spiegelman even count?
posted by tylermoody at 3:03 PM on July 11, 2008


ugh, I forgot the Thing made top ten, too.
posted by tylermoody at 3:05 PM on July 11, 2008


Er… Little HTML error there, though I do appreciate you taking the time to wade through that for those of us who hate the fucking multi-page bullshit (IT IS THE WEB IT IS INFINITE!).

I'm glad they rated Constantine so high, I'm kind of sad they over-rated Wolverine, and I'm curious as to why The Thing is so far up there.
posted by klangklangston at 3:05 PM on July 11, 2008


And since the goddamned regular page is taking so long to load now, I suppose I'll never know if there actually is a character named The Jocker (I really, really hope there is).
posted by klangklangston at 3:06 PM on July 11, 2008 [2 favorites]


Mainstream, Mainstream, Look how indie I am, Mainstream, Mainstream, Look how indie I am.

At least they're sticking to the formula. Judge Dredd is out of order so they don't seem to biased towards Americans.
posted by Gary at 3:07 PM on July 11, 2008


More for comparison:
Wizard's top 200 characters
Mightygodking talking about Wizard's list
and MGK's top 200
posted by tylermoody at 3:11 PM on July 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


11. Jesse Custer
12. Spider Jerusalem
13. Vladek Spiegleman
14. The Hulk
15. Death (Teleute)
16. Rorschach
17. Iron Man
18. Halo Jones
19. The Punisher
20. Wonder Woman
21. I Got Bored
posted by pracowity at 3:15 PM on July 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


Fixed Artw's top-ten links. I didn't look, but Aquaman better not be on that list.
posted by cortex at 3:15 PM on July 11, 2008


Wait... no [insert name of favourite hero] in it?
posted by darkripper at 3:16 PM on July 11, 2008


Nice to see the Saint of Killers on the list, even if he's near the bottom. I'm just starting to read the Preacher series. I was expecting Sandman to be near the top, but I'm surprised at how high he is. There are loads of endearing characters in the Sandman universe - but maybe they're mid-list and I can't be bothered checking.

And yes, navigation sucks.
posted by tracicle at 3:20 PM on July 11, 2008


I'm glad they rated Constantine so high, I'm kind of sad they over-rated Wolverine, and I'm curious as to why The Thing is so far up there.

Great design, a character Jack Kirby seemed to treat as something of an alter ego, and the ancient ancestor of all angsty heroes (monstrous or otherwise) to come. (One of the less angsty but more monstrous ones -- one bearing a rather strong resemblance to the tough-talkin', cigar-chompin' Thing -- has a movie opening today, in fact!) I'm not sure whether any of these factors is cited when Empire justifies its choices, though, since I can't begin to summon the interest to read this list. (Ye gods, how many times...and that top ten...blah, snore, whatever; sorry, Artw, I usually dig your FPPs a lot, but I'm just not feeling this one.)
posted by kittens for breakfast at 3:20 PM on July 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


I wonder if everyone votes Batman up and Superman down on the poll if they'll reverse the terrible injustice they've carried out with this list.
posted by saraswati at 3:25 PM on July 11, 2008


Page by page = bad. Superman over Batman = very very bad. Still, Sandman and Constantine in the top ten counts for something. Did Preacher make the list?
posted by Ber at 3:26 PM on July 11, 2008


I got the first page (Spawn) but after that it's been "failed to open page" every time. Is it just me?

Also, no French/Belgian characters in the top 20? Tintin? Asterix? Lucky Luke? Terrapins! Abecedarians! Brigands! Squawking popinjays! Prattling porpoises! Scoffing braggarts! Ostrogoths! Steamrollers! Two-timing Tartar Twisters! Sea-lice! Fancy-dress freebooters! Odd-toed ungulates! Pithecanthropuses! Freshwater swabs!
posted by Kattullus at 3:26 PM on July 11, 2008


Fuck Superman. Batman is now and has always been better.

You remember when Batman was played by Adam West and they did that awful movie where he fought a shark? Yeah, still miles better than Superman.

Stupid fucking alien, always getting the good press.

Rorschach should be higher too.
posted by quin at 3:30 PM on July 11, 2008


Any top fifty comics anything list that doesn't include The Spirit isn't worth the pixels it's printed on.
posted by The Man from Lardfork at 3:33 PM on July 11, 2008 [4 favorites]


- Nice to see Cerebus made the list (#38). I know, I know, everyone is going to want to talk about how crazy they think Dave Sim is, but the first five (phone)book collections of the serious are fantastic, as are several later editions.

- Swamp Thing (#29) certainly should have placed better. A character of phenomenal depth under the right scribe (Moore, Veitch, Millar).

- Regarding John Constantine's entry (#3), I have to take issue with calling the film Constantine a "surprisingly good Hellblazer adaptation." I won't get into my own take on the film's quality, but strictly in terms of adaptation, it's rubbish.

Also, is anyone else surprised there's no Captain Marvel (Billy Batson, that "Shazam!" guy, the Big Red Cheese, and so forth)? Back in the 40s, his own books outsold Superman's enough that DC took Fawcett Comics to court long enough that Fawcett eventually folded in part due to overwhelming court costs. Considering Superman is on the top of the list, it seems strange that the guy who used to routinely outsell him doesn't even get a nod.
posted by Donnie VandenBos at 3:35 PM on July 11, 2008


DC Thomson demand a recount!
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:36 PM on July 11, 2008 [2 favorites]


I didn't look, but Aquaman better not be on that list.

Hey, but watch out for Reverse Aquaman, who is the Aquaman equivalent of the Reverse Flash and "can control everything that's not in the sea". That’s pretty powerful.
posted by Artw at 3:39 PM on July 11, 2008


Artw: 8. The Jocker

I was envisioning some kind of bizarre superhero based on a high school jock who had developed superpowers through an accident with an athletic supporter.

Upon discovering it was a typo: relief.
posted by never used baby shoes at 3:40 PM on July 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


Dredd is the one for me.

2000AD was the only comic I read as a kid and was wishing for a movie adaptation.

Until...
posted by Webbster at 3:43 PM on July 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


never used baby shoes - Jock is awesome.
posted by Artw at 3:44 PM on July 11, 2008


Going through the full list, I see Hellboy at 35, The Tick at 28, and Marv at 26. So I'm mollified somewhat, but where is Johnny the Homicidal Maniac?
posted by quin at 3:49 PM on July 11, 2008 [2 favorites]


20% of voters have voted that Superman (at #1) should be higher on the list.
posted by tracicle at 3:58 PM on July 11, 2008


Full list. via

50: Spawn
49: Captain Haddock (Tintin)
48: Harvey Pekar (America Splendor)
47: Apollo and Midnighter
46: J. Jonah Jameson
45: Deadpool
44: Jenny Sparks (Stormwatch)
43: Astro Boy
42: The Saint of Killers (Preacher)
41: Hal Jordan and the rest of the Corps
40: Scott Pilgrim
39: The Mekon (Dan Dare)
38: Cerebus
37: Daredevil
36: Agent Graves (100B)
35: Hellboy
34: Dr. Strange
33: Venom (all)
32: Lex Luthor
31: Usagi Yojimbo
30: Emma Frost
29: Swamp Thing
28: The Tick
27: Johnny Alpha
26: Marv (Sin City)
25: Dr. Doom
24: Deena Pilgrim (Bendis' Powers)
23: Obelix
22: Wagner's Grendel
21: Captain America (Steve Rogers)
20: Wonder Woman
19: The Punisher
18: Halo Jones
17: Iron Man
16: Rorschach
15: Death (Sandman)
14: Green Hulk
13: Vladek Spiegelman (Maus)
12: Spider Jerusalem
11: Jesse Custer (Preacher)
10: The Thing
09: Magneto
08: The Joker
07: Judge Dredd
06: Morpheus (Sandman)
05: Spider-Man
04: Wolverine
03: John Constantine
02: Batman
01: Superman
posted by jabberjaw at 4:12 PM on July 11, 2008 [2 favorites]


I believe that some of these should be ranked higher, or lower, than they are currently ranked on this list.
posted by ORthey at 4:16 PM on July 11, 2008 [3 favorites]


No GROO?!? Fuck this list!
posted by poppo at 4:19 PM on July 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


What, no Storm from X-men?! Glad to see Grendel, Constantine, Jesse and Cerebus though. Sad that there aren't more females on the list.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:19 PM on July 11, 2008


Glad to see the inclusion of characters like Deena Pilgrim, Agent Graves, Jesse Custer, the Saint of Killers, etc. But, with the exception of Vladek Spiegelman, not much in the way of alternative comics characters.
posted by Saxon Kane at 4:23 PM on July 11, 2008


No Little Lulu?
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 4:24 PM on July 11, 2008


What he said.

Any list without The Spirit or Wil Eisner on it ain't worth sh*t.
posted by willmize at 4:24 PM on July 11, 2008


Oh, also almost totally USA/Western Hemisphere centric, with the exception of Astro Boy, I think. What about Lone Wolf & Cub?
posted by Saxon Kane at 4:24 PM on July 11, 2008


Captain Haddock #49, good to see included, but INSTEAD of Tintin???
J. Jonah Jameson #47, good, he IS Spiderman's truest "nemesis".
AstroBoy #43? The Mickey Mouse of Manga/Anime? Wa-a-ay underrated.
HellBoy #35, underrated , but maybe they're just showing that they're not pandering to the superhero movie of the week...
Swamp Thing #29, good to see he made Top 30
The Tick #28, deserves Top 20, and Arthur is one sidekick who should've made the Top 50
Obelix #23, again, INSTEAD of Asterix?

ARE WHERE'S SCROOGE McDUCK?!?
(and not a single one of those Kids in Riverdale?)

The usual DC/Marvel/"Image for Indie Cred" superhero/villain comic domination. I want my 50 clicks back.
posted by wendell at 4:33 PM on July 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


And I KNEW I'd forgotten someone... GROO!!!
posted by wendell at 4:34 PM on July 11, 2008


Damned right. How could they leave out Uncle Scrooge? Carl Barks must be rolling over in his grave.
posted by Class Goat at 4:39 PM on July 11, 2008


No Buddy Bradley? Can't take it seriously.
posted by jonmc at 4:45 PM on July 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


Jughead.
posted by Sys Rq at 4:46 PM on July 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


I am strangely pleased to see J. Jonah Jameson on that list. The movie adaptations were good to him; J. K. Simmons's makeup and voice were perfect, as if the Jameson character in the book had been a drawing of him.
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:47 PM on July 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


This list is not very good, and they failed to find an image of Hunter Rose. However, the flag behind Doom looks like Grendel.
Viviat Grendel!
posted by vrakatar at 4:48 PM on July 11, 2008


Reid Fleming, World's Toughest Milkman.
posted by Kinbote at 4:51 PM on July 11, 2008


There were some really big omissions, of course, but it wasn't that bad of a list considering it's a 'best of subjective thing' list, meaning it had most of my favorites in there somewhere.

Missing: V, Detective Richard Fell.

Overrated: Too many to make it worth listing here. But The Thing? Come on! Grimm is a legitimately good character and a significant one, but 'top' to me should be based on the character itself rather than any historical significance or the popularity of the comic. Which is why Dream was too high. There was some beautiful stuff in Sandman, but that doesn't make Dream anything but a mopey goth. Also Superman, obviously. Once again - significant, but the character is not only not great but one-dimensional and most importantly not crazy. A deficiency not shared by the Batman, although he might not be my number one choice either.

Underrated: Rorschach, Spider Jerusalem, Batman. And if their going to have J. Jonah Jamison, they should damn well have Commissioner Gordon. Batman: Year One is all about Gordon and a beautiful book.
posted by Muttoneer at 4:51 PM on July 11, 2008


I'm serious aboutthe omission of Buddy Bradley. Hate! was pretty much the best and most influential of the '90's independent non-superhero comix and the fact that Buddy was such an easy-to-relate to character was the main reason why.
posted by jonmc at 5:02 PM on July 11, 2008


I'd also make a case for Namor, but then again I hate Arthur Curry.
posted by vrakatar at 5:13 PM on July 11, 2008


Robinson's Starman? Morrison's Animal Man? Timm's Mr. Freeze?
posted by robocop is bleeding at 5:27 PM on July 11, 2008


No Dogwelder? Really?
posted by martinrebas at 5:28 PM on July 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


ARE WHERE'S SCROOGE McDUCK?!?

Fucking seconded

Scud would have been a nice addition too, but that's probably asking for too much. The Tick set my inner teenager at ease.
posted by spiderwire at 6:00 PM on July 11, 2008


I just want to say that I read through all the comments thus far. Then I looked at the title of this post, and had a good, long laugh.
posted by TheRoach at 6:14 PM on July 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


I want to know how Martha Washington missed the list. I mean, yes the second series got more than slightly silly and trite what with its whole "hey, let's recreate that godawful Ayn Rynd tripe", but the first series was brutal, and the political satire was as brilliant as it was dark. The Aryan Thrust alone put Give Me Liberty into the greats, and the Surgeon General still gives me the creeps.

As for the rest, I suppose it was inevitable that Superman topped the list, but I do wish that they'd either wholeheartedly gone American only, or genuinely gone international. I can, offhand, think of seven or eight genuinely supurb characters they should have included if they were going to count manga, and none of them are frickin' Astroboy. If they wanted longevity and popularity they could have included Doraemon. If they wanted a truly developed, and truly twisted, character they could have included Ash Lynx. But Astroboy? The only people under 50 who've ever even seen Astroboy are true otaku with a serious historic bent. It was seminal, yes, but hardly an enduring great.
posted by sotonohito at 6:36 PM on July 11, 2008


No Dogwelder? Really?

Heh. He should be number #1 really. More Section 8!
posted by Artw at 6:42 PM on July 11, 2008


20% of voters have voted that Superman (at #1) should be higher on the list.

He could PUNCH A HOLE IN TIME to make room.
posted by Artw at 6:44 PM on July 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


Well, he's able to leap long lists in a single bound.
posted by jonmc at 7:35 PM on July 11, 2008


What? No Hawkman?
posted by Ron Thanagar at 7:44 PM on July 11, 2008


When I was a little kid sometimes at night I would get scared and think The Joker was under my bed and if I dangled any part of my body over the side he would lash out with a knife and cut it off.

So I *really* shouldn't have Googled the until-now-unknown-to-me fact that The Joker's appearance was based on a Conrad Veidt film role.

Sweet tap-dancing fuck! I'm never putting my feet on the floor again.
posted by Cyrano at 7:48 PM on July 11, 2008 [3 favorites]


[Spike Lee:]

What, no Black Panther? Racism!

[/Spike]
posted by t2urner at 7:49 PM on July 11, 2008


Mr. Natural? Fritz the Cat? Milk/Cheese? Sam/Max? Squee? Filler Bunny? Concrete? Tank Girl? Wally Ut? Beanish? Mr. Spook? Madman? (Hempel's) Gregory? (Woodring's) Frank? Luba? Jaeger Ayers? Sock Monkey? Jimmy Corrigan?
posted by erniepan at 7:57 PM on July 11, 2008


Oh man, Sam & Max, seriously. And Ralph Snart. And at least one Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle.
posted by jabberjaw at 8:01 PM on July 11, 2008


What about your mom?
posted by Saxon Kane at 8:05 PM on July 11, 2008


Quibbling about exclusions and rankings is dumb if you take it seriously, but it's fun to remember other cool characters when commenters bring them up.

So in that spirit (and stealing some choices other people have mentioned): this list needs more Scrooge McDuck, Jughead Jones, Krazy Kat, Ranma Saotome, Bizarro, Calvin, Enid Coleslaw, Galactus, Jimmy Corrigan, Mr. Hyde (LoEG), Groo, Harley Quinn, Agatha Heterodyne, Scud, Hawkeye, the unnamed Death character in Buttercup Festival, Sam & Max, Bucky Katt, the Crypt Keeper, Joe Pi, Drinky Crow, Uatu, and Pogo.
posted by painquale at 8:21 PM on July 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


Yes. Pogo warms my bitter, enlarged geek heart.
posted by vrakatar at 8:52 PM on July 11, 2008


I was a nerd among nerds.
posted by RavinDave at 9:04 PM on July 11, 2008


I was pretty pissed that The Spirit wasn't on the list. And as I got to the top 5 I was wondering how it would end. When I saw Batman at #2, I had that deflated feeling I'm sure the bronze and silver Miss America contestants have upon hearing their names. Spiderman is my #2 and Superman is probably 4 or 5. And fucking fuck, Hellboy should be at least in the top 15.

Reasonable list otherwise.


Oh, really glad Johnny Alpha-Strontium Dog got on the list.....you know for obvious reasons.
posted by strontiumdog at 9:04 PM on July 11, 2008


You know who was another really interesting character? The Maxx. A homeless nut who thought he was a superhero.
posted by strontiumdog at 9:07 PM on July 11, 2008


Cyrano - he's also Luke Skywalker.
posted by Artw at 9:28 PM on July 11, 2008


OK, seriously, we're putting together a much better list here.

Ones that I'd axe (because you have to make room): Deadpool, Venom, Emma Frost, Deena Pilgrim, Spawn, Death, Apollo and Midnight, Obelix, Marv, Hal Jordan and Astro Boy. [Deadpool always seemed too '90s Bloodwulf, Venom too, Frost is pretty flat aside from sexy sexy bad girl/arch headmistress, I thought Powers was lame, Spawn was played out after issue four, Death was trite Cure pantheon, A&M were only moderately interesting as gay, Obeliz was second-tier at best, Sin City was boring for characters, Hal Jordan was only interesting when he flipped out, and Astro Boy was more iconic than good—I'd cut Mickey Mouse too]

Ones that I'd knock down: Wolverine, Superman, Spiderman, Green Hulk, Batman, The Punisher.

Couple characters that I haven't seen mentioned here that are worth considering: Conan, Silver Surfer, Arzach, Danny the Street (well, really, the whole damn Doom Patrol), Lone Sloan, Starman, William Gull (or Frederick Abberline), and Rick Grimes.
posted by klangklangston at 9:32 PM on July 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


For lots of folks here, y'all seem to have forgotten that comic strips are not comic books—The Spirit's always gonna be best for the strip, just like Krazy Kat or Calvin.

(Oh, and I definitely miss Lone Wolf. I think I cried at the end of that book.)
posted by klangklangston at 9:34 PM on July 11, 2008


Somehow I missed this thread from a few years back. It's got to be in the top 50 for home made Halloween superhero costumes.
posted by Staggering Jack at 9:55 PM on July 11, 2008


One per page, starting off with Spawn? Bunk.
No Love & Rockets characters? Or Sgt. Rock? Or Scrooge? Or Jughead? Or GI Robot? Or John 'Peachy' Doe, aka Nth Man, The Ultimate Ninja?

And hell, why not just give all the Warren Ellis characters a single entry, they're all written the damn same, anyway.

Danny the Street (well, really, the whole damn Doom Patrol)
Crazy Jane is a Top 64 unto herself.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:09 PM on July 11, 2008


Umm, what? The only Japanese character is Astro Boy?

I realise the whole reason Top 50 lists keep propogating like Tribbles is because idiots like me get outraged by them, but I'm going to bite anyway.

This is bullshit. Where is Tetsuo Shima? TETSUOOOOOOOOO!
posted by RokkitNite at 10:32 PM on July 11, 2008


Too American Centered, so it's useless.
posted by zouhair at 11:06 PM on July 11, 2008


No one from LXG? Probably not a great surprise. I sort of wanted to see Dr. Manhattan in there though over Rorschach. And honestly, if we were going for secondary Sandman characters, I would totally go for Thessaly instead of Death. Death is overrated.

Is Conan any good? My local library has a great comic section and they have about a dozen Conan collections.
posted by tracicle at 11:55 PM on July 11, 2008


Danny the Street (well, really, the whole damn Doom Patrol)
Crazy Jane is a Top 64 unto herself.


I laughed a bit too hard at that.
But on the subject of the Doom Patrol - it's real heart and soul has always been Cliff Steele, Robotman.

And since there's some early Vertigo reminiscing going on here, did anyone else collect Peter Milligan's Shade The Changing Man? Such a terribly underrated series. Issue #50 was the earliest book I can recall that managed to get a knife in my guts and just keep twisting it there.
posted by Donnie VandenBos at 1:03 AM on July 12, 2008


I want to know how Martha Washington missed the list.

Meh. It was decent, but once I read, well, any number of Howard Chaykin's series, it seemed like a rip-off of them.

Judge Dredd shouldn't be in any top ten.

Is this lack of clue, or taste, I wonder?

Also glad to see Johnny Alpha; if they're pulling in 2000 AD characters as superheroes, I wants Judge Anderson and the Rogue Trooper, although the reboot of the series never worked for me so well.
posted by rodgerd at 1:23 AM on July 12, 2008


And hell, why not just give all the Warren Ellis characters a single entry, they're all written the damn same, anyway.

Well, you could say the same about Garth Ennis.
posted by rodgerd at 1:25 AM on July 12, 2008


Also, Marshall Law.
posted by rodgerd at 1:28 AM on July 12, 2008 [2 favorites]


Well, you could say the same about Garth Ennis.

*gasp*
posted by tracicle at 1:35 AM on July 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


Green Lantern but no Flash? There's at LEAST fifty reasons why this is a suck list, but that alone relegates this list to File Thirteen.

I disagreed with practically every slot. Like most everyone else in this thread, I could list a dozen or so that I'd take off the list and a dozen or so I'd add, but it'd be pointless. This kind of thing completely fails to capture comics in any redeemable way. It's something that may allow us geeks a chance to argue, but you can't compare Wolverine to Cerebus or Rorschach to J. Jonah Jameson. It's completely ludicrous.

It's like trying to prove that Tom Sawyer is better than Sherlock Holmes, or vice versa. Or that Tarzan's a better character than Doc Savage. It's a stupid argument.
posted by ZachsMind at 1:58 AM on July 12, 2008


It's a bit disappointing that the only female they pick out of the X-Men universe is a "manipulative slut," and the best part about her was her "porn star poses."
posted by ukdanae at 2:58 AM on July 12, 2008


Once again, I say ...

Has there *ever* been a top 50 (or top 10, or top 25, or top whatever) list that *didn't* leave out some obviously brilliant choices, put in some head-scratchingly low-quality selections, use an incomprehensibly arbitrary set of inclusion rules, and then clearly violate those rules several times? Because I've never seen one.

These things come with the very nature of a "top [number]" list. They are of necessity arbitrary, subjective, slanted, and incomplete, because they are created by a limited number of people, with a knowledge of the art form that can never be totally perfect, at a specific point in time. While it can be fun to debate the specific choices or ranking order or use them as a springboard for discussion of the form, pointing out that these lists are flawed is practically redundant.

That being said, where the hell are Zachary "Zot" Paleozogt, Katina "Katchoo" Choovanski, Monica "Mo" Testa, and Margarita Luisa "Maggie" Chascarrillo, or for that matter Jenny Weaver, Francine Peters, Lois McGiver, and Esperanza Leticia "Hopey" Glass?!! If they include Harvey Pekar, what about Ariel Schrag, Scott McCloud, and Marjane Satrapi?!! Nausicaa! Bone! Steeljack! Johnny the Homicidal Maniac! Kabuki! IT'S A TRAVESTY, I TELL YOU!!!
posted by kyrademon at 3:59 AM on July 12, 2008


ukdanae True, but honestly that's pretty much all there is to Marvel's females. All Marvel women, regardless of how they start out, eventually become manipulative sluts in porn star poses.

Look at, to take a particularly egregious example, Elisabeth Braddock. She started as a run of the mill telepath dressing in fairly blah clothes featuring a lot of poofy sleeves. Then they made her Asian (cuz we all know Asian wimmin are just so sexy...), turned her into a ninja (presumably to justify a lot of pornstar poses as "combat poses"), put her into a pornstar getup and had her take a lot of showers and baths. Classic Marvel treatment of a female character.

Remember the year after the CCA decided that visible nipples were ok as long as they were clothed? It looked like every Marvel woman had just gotten rubbed down with an ice cube, not a shirt was to be seen without a nipple poking up.

I think if the Marvel writers/artists would just get laid they might be able to produce some more realistic women, but until then its going to be manipulative sluts in pornstar poses as far as the eye can see.
posted by sotonohito at 4:33 AM on July 12, 2008 [5 favorites]


All excellent points, sotonohito, and beautifully put!
posted by ukdanae at 5:16 AM on July 12, 2008


Holy shit, kyrademon - you're right. Where the hell is Bone?
posted by robocop is bleeding at 6:11 AM on July 12, 2008


And hell, why not just give all the Warren Ellis characters a single entry, they're all written the damn same, anyway.

Well, you could say the same about Garth Ennis.


Stock Ellis character vs. stock Ennis character would be awesome.
posted by Artw at 7:14 AM on July 12, 2008


> All Marvel women, regardless of how they start out, eventually become manipulative sluts in porn star poses.

That sort of thing seems to have gotten worse since the days when I did most of my comic buying:

New Mutants #1
New Mutants #100

It's subtle, but if you squint you might spot a few differences.
posted by The Card Cheat at 7:23 AM on July 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


Next thing you know Wonder Woman will become some kind of bondage freak.
posted by Artw at 7:31 AM on July 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


sotonohito, I am now flashing back to some seriously major teenaged Psylocke-related boners. Thank you, sir! OH HEY SCOTT SUMMERS I WAS JUST IN THE SHOWER OH LOOK THIS TOWEL JUST BARELY COVERS UP MY HOO-HAH. Ah, to be young again.

I found it sort of odd that they used a drawing by Zander Cannon (rather than Bryan Lee O'Malley) for the Scott Pilgrim entry. Maybe someone compiling the list was just a huge Replacement God fan, and this was the closest they could get to inserting Knute or something?

Speaking of which, if I had my druthers, the leader of the Visigoths would be way the fuck up at the top of this list.
posted by Greg Nog at 7:32 AM on July 12, 2008


Get it. Feel it. Live it. The man, the mental organism: the MODOK.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 8:09 AM on July 12, 2008


Needs more Maxx, Mr. Gone, Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy....... FAIL.
posted by ELF Radio at 8:22 AM on July 12, 2008


Lower parts of the list are way to 90s specific (and craptacular at that.) I'm sorry, I just don't think Spawn should be on anyone's list... it's a cheap character from a cheap publisher... ditto for most of the others.
posted by wfrgms at 9:47 AM on July 12, 2008


Please tell me I'm not the only person who thinks Preacher, and Garth Ennis is/are wildly overrated.
posted by josher71 at 9:48 AM on July 12, 2008


Artw heh.

I've really got nothing against sex in comics, I just wish it didn't make up the totality [1] of the female characters in so many comics. The women all either wind up raped, in the refrigerator, turned into manipulative sluts in pornstar poses, or all of the above. That's pretty much the entire female comic character experience right there. Well, you can also have virginal "pure" women, but they aren't allowed to have sex lives.

Note how often, for example, brainwashing is a central element for stories involving female characters and how relatively seldom male characters are brainwashed. Off the top of my head I can name six or seven Marvel women who have been brainwashed (and usually afterwards wear less clothing than they did prior) and I honestly can't think of a single Marvel man who has been brainwashed [2]. I think you could make a good case for brainwashing as a rape substitute in comics.

Apparently that's all they can think of for women to do: look sexy, get raped or brainwashed, die, or lose their powers. It ain't easy being a Marvel woman.

I think manga often manages a better integration of sex into comics, possibly because Japanese prudishness is different from American prudishness. Shiro's heroines, for example, often have active sex lives and are, at the same time, not there exclusively as wanking material for teenage readers.

People who write non-comic stuff often manage the trick of having sex in their stories without reducing all women to victims or sluts. Not always, of course, but surprisingly often, especially the more recent writers.

So why can't comics have both sex and fully developed female characters?

[1] The focused totality even...

[2] Wolverine maybe.
posted by sotonohito at 9:50 AM on July 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


Please tell me I'm not the only person who thinks Preacher, and Garth Ennis is/are wildly overrated.

I loved the first half of Preacher. The second half, not really. Ennis can be a fantastic writer, but too often he settles for being some weird cross between Quentin Tarantino and the Farrelly Brothers. He seems to have fun doing that (and sometimes it really does work: his Rifle Brigade cracked me up), and his fans seem to dig it, but it's not the Ennis I appreciate.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 10:10 AM on July 12, 2008


"20% of voters have voted that Superman (at #1) should be higher on the list."

0? That sounds about right. (Go Bats!)

What I'm about to type will likely sound pretty well duh, but it's something I've been thinking about for years, which I first noticed when debating the issue in a college dorm room. It kinda hit me not like a bolt out of the blue, but with a slow percolation like the bubbling of a Lazarus pit.

Superman vs. Batman is always an interesting matchup. It's iconic in many ways because while Superman was conceived in part based on the Nietzschean Übermensch (Over-man or Super-man), Batman is a more literal interpretation. He has no special powers (which is like the first thing anyone says about Batman; and in the stories, it's usually followed by them receiving their own ass, gift-wrapped). But he has taken himself to the limits of the mind, body, and will in an attempt to maximize his human potential. Superman's by no means a simplistic character; in the JLU animated series, he gives a nice speech in the episode Destroyer:
"Me? I've got a different problem. I feel like I live in a world made of cardboard. Always taking constant care not to break something, to break someone. Never allowing myself to lose control, even for a moment, or someone could die. But you can take it, can't you, big man? What we have here is a rare opportunity for me to cut loose, and show you just how powerful I really am."

But still, Supes represents the easy way. He represents natural talent, rather than cultivated ability. To be sure, Bats was born to wealth, but I don't think you'll see Bill Gates' kids dispensing two-fisted justice on a galactic scale.

Regardless, the differences and similarities are interesting enough to keep this conflict alive for decades. Their different approaches to heroism are (and I'm saying this as a Marvel kid) one of the great underlying dialogues present in the medium of mainstream comics.
posted by Eideteker at 10:54 AM on July 12, 2008 [4 favorites]


Yeah, I think that Ennis relies a little to much on "Hey! This is gross! RIGHT? LOOK!!!" and not enough on just crafting an interesting story.
posted by josher71 at 10:59 AM on July 12, 2008


Aside from all the "I know better/more obscure comics than you" stuff (though it's a nice change from music threads) I'd say that Yes, Captain Haddock is a better character than Tintin, and Obelix a better character than Asterix. Sure, they're secondary, per se, but they not only define the primary protagonist in ways better than, say, robin defines batman, but they provide a lens through which the primary character is defined, a lens which is interesting in itself, possibly moreso than the raw material of the protagonist.

As I am unable to join in on music threads, though - I'm going to say this list misses out Roxanne from Moore's Skizz (my first ever in my head girlfriend), Sam Slade, robo-hunter (seriously, Rogue Trooper always did and always will suck) and King "He had a teatowel with a print of one of his skull x-rays. We had sex" Mob from the Invisibles (It's a paraphrase, anal-retents)

That said, I will never be able to read the letters j o n m c without seeing Buddy Bradley behind the keyboard.

Peace out
posted by Sparx at 11:03 AM on July 12, 2008


Yeah, I think that Ennis relies a little to much on "Hey! This is gross! RIGHT? LOOK!!!" and not enough on just crafting an interesting story.

But then the story ends with the crazy old Nazi crying to his special mannequin and it's all worthwhile.
posted by spiderwire at 11:09 AM on July 12, 2008


ArtW: "Next thing you know Wonder Woman will become some kind of bondage freak."

Wonder Woman has ALWAYS been some kind of bondage freak and there's nothing wrong with that. It's not personally my cup of tea but she shouldn't be penalized for her sexual hangups. To each his or her own. Tying her up makes her swoon. It's a thing. Big deal. Mankind needs to get over itself and stop having a cow over every little deviance.

UKDanae: "It's a bit disappointing that the only female they pick out of the X-Men universe is a 'manipulative slut,' and the best part about her was her 'porn star poses'."

Jean Grey / Phoenix has done more in and for the history of the X-Men franchise than Emma Frost ever has or will, and Storm is more representative of the spirit of the franchise in both personality and accomplishments. Both choices would have been better than Frost. Personally I'd put Kitty Pryde above all three of those characters, but then I've had a crush on Kitty since I was twelve. So I'm a little biased.

IDontKnowWhoSaidThisOneFirstImTiredGimmeABreak: " '20% of voters have voted that Superman (at #1) should be higher on the list.' "

I'm one of those twenty percent.

Superman is an international icon. He has been the most consistently published super hero character in the history of comic books (since June 1938), and is pretty much the one to which all other characters are compared. Yes, Batman (since May 1939) is awesome. Blah blah blah blah blah. Superman is more mainstream. He appeals to a wider audience. When done right, Batman is a great entertainment for mature audiences. Dumbing him down for children is insulting and embarrassing. However, Superman literally can appeal to everybody and you don't have to change him all that much from one audience to another.

You're right. In a list like this, Batman should be number one. However, in a list like this, Superman shouldn't have to be on the list. It should be "fifty top comic book characters (after Superman)" and the "(after Superman)" part should simply be understood. I shouldn't even have to explain this. You should already know this.

Cuz, DUH. It's SUPERMAN.
posted by ZachsMind at 11:34 AM on July 12, 2008 [3 favorites]


Please tell me I'm not the only person who thinks Preacher, and Garth Ennis is/are wildly overrated.

Definitely not. If I were ranking the eight regular Hellblazer writers, Ennis comes in at number seven, just above Brian Azzarello's mostly horrendous run.
posted by Donnie VandenBos at 11:59 AM on July 12, 2008


Please tell me I'm not the only person who thinks Preacher, and Garth Ennis is/are wildly overrated.

Ennis has moments of genius... ie Condors but most of the time he's all shock!/blasphemy!/pub scene/pub scene

And yeah, Preacher started off great but hit diminishing returns after a while and the ending was woeful.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 12:43 PM on July 12, 2008


"Note how often, for example, brainwashing is a central element for stories involving female characters and how relatively seldom male characters are brainwashed. Off the top of my head I can name six or seven Marvel women who have been brainwashed (and usually afterwards wear less clothing than they did prior) and I honestly can't think of a single Marvel man who has been brainwashed [2]. I think you could make a good case for brainwashing as a rape substitute in comics."

Cyclops (relatively frequently), Colossus (in that alternate dimension thing where his brother was), Captain America (relatively frequently), Thor (the Enchantress), Wonderman (the Enchantress), Magneto (made to think he was good), everyone in House of M, Batman and the rest of the JLA (after Dr. Light killed um… the Flash's wife? Somebody's wife), nearly everyone in Powers…
posted by klangklangston at 1:11 PM on July 12, 2008


And yeah, Preacher started off great but hit diminishing returns after a while and the ending was woeful.

Damn. I've just started it, so that's a bit of a downer.
posted by tracicle at 1:15 PM on July 12, 2008


Elastic Man's wife Sue Dibny, klangklangston. I was thinking of that mindwipe too, but it's DC not Marvel, and there is actually a rape scene in that series.
posted by tracicle at 1:17 PM on July 12, 2008


My main source of dissapointment with Ennis is that so much of his stuff starts with a hiss and a roar, but peters out after the first third of so. He seems to just run out of energy.

Still, he's no Grant Morrison, and I mean that in a good way.
posted by rodgerd at 2:01 PM on July 12, 2008


Hmmm, thanks klang. Maybe I just noticed the female brainwashing more. Be interesting to do an actual statistical study either way.
posted by sotonohito at 2:06 PM on July 12, 2008


*Of course* Preacher is overated... compared with Hitman or the MAX run on Punisher.
posted by Artw at 2:39 PM on July 12, 2008


There is definitely a higher percentage of brainwashing, depowering, rape, and captivity for female characters in superhero comics. The way the results play out is also often different -- the effects are notably more permanent.

Of course these things happen to male characters, too, and I don't know of any comparison studies, but if you read the comics with any regularity, it's hard not to notice the difference in frequency.

And it's interesting to talk about the consequences, e.g.:
- Batgirl gets shot in the spine. She is permanently crippled. (Compare to Batman -- he has his spine broken, he gets better.)
- Phoenix is brainwashed. She turns evil, kills a whole bunch of people, and dies.
- Rogue loses control of her powers and is messed up for years.
- Illyana is kidnapped. She is raised by demons, is years older when she reappears, and the character is permanently altered.
- Etc., etc., etc.

Now, you can certainly think of male characters this kind of thing happens to, even important ones (Tony Stark, perhaps.) But male characters, far more often, have shit happen and then get better within the course of a single story arc. Again, that is often the case with female characters, too. But female characters seem far more likely to get messed with in the first place, and messed with for years at a time when it happens.

It's not that it never happens to men, or that it always happens to women, but ... the frequency is telling.
posted by kyrademon at 2:53 PM on July 12, 2008


kyrademon: I think maybe the relative "icon" status of the male characters in question ought to be taken into account when looking at the gender discrepancies. For the Batman/Batgirl example, simply put: it's a lot easier to leave Batgirl in a wheelchair than Batman. She doesn't balance three (or more) monthly titles, she doesn't have movies or an entire action figure line, etc. For comparison, take into account the fate of Jason Todd, the second Robin: betrayed by his birth mother after finally finding her, beaten nearly to death by the Joker, and then blown up by a time bomb.

I'm not arguing that there isn't an obvious tendency for terrible things to happen to female comic characters, because obviously there is. I just think that the reason things like that aren't happening to your Batmen and your Supermen is because it would be hard for an editor to let some irreparable damage happen to a character of their status and history. And when terrible things happen to small-time male characters, few notice or care (I can't imagine Grant Morrison's treatment of B'wana Beast elicited much outrage).
posted by Donnie VandenBos at 3:20 PM on July 12, 2008


I dunno. My general experience of internet comics fandom indicates that if *anything* happens to *any* character someone, somewhere, will be outraged. I'm sure there were B'wana Beast fans out there somewhere howling in anguish.
posted by Artw at 3:25 PM on July 12, 2008


Oh, and nice to see Halo Jones at number 18.
posted by Artw at 3:26 PM on July 12, 2008


I'm one of those twenty percent.

Do you mean you're 1% of the 20% who responded that way, therefore making you .2% of the total responses, or are you 1% of the total responses, and you happen to fall in with the other 19% who think Superman is underrated?
posted by Eideteker at 4:08 PM on July 12, 2008


Donnie VandenBos, your points are well taken, but doesn't that then lead in turn to the fact that there are so many more iconic male superheroes than female ones?
posted by kyrademon at 4:38 PM on July 12, 2008


That's definitely true. I believe the only truly iconic female superhero (that isn't just a female portrayal of an existing male character) would be Wonder Woman. And like her male counterparts, she's sort of a "untouchable" character in terms of any sort of massive changes. She's lost her powers and she's gotten them back numerous times, she's blinded herself to fight Medusa and she's gotten her eyesight back. She's part of the status quo of mainstream comics, and because of that, editors have a hard time letting any permanent changes be done to her character.

A nice counterexample to everything mentioned here is Captain America.
posted by Donnie VandenBos at 5:35 PM on July 12, 2008


kyrademon: i don't really think the examples are necessary to prove your point. the first things i think when i read them is that i want to quibble over those specific choices (rogue, batgirl, etc.) -- but i'd do that no matter what the argument, really. once i restrain my inner geek, i think:

(a) as donnie points out, those aren't characters anchoring whole titles. batman can't stay paralyzed. that said, i think the initial question is why most every single-title lead character is male. there's lots of male readers, on one hand, but then there's the obvious question of causality -- i.e., are female readers being alienated. i still don't have an answer to that, of course.

(b) i'm not sure that i buy the argument that characters turning evil or losing their powers is exactly unique to female characters. that's kind of a mainstay of comic storytelling, to the point of being cliché. that same trope is used with male characters constantly, in particular whenever some writer gets enamored with their bad-boy antihero. (wolverine comes to mind. but it's really everyone.)

(c) the specific examples notwithstanding, wow is there a lot of sexism in superhero comic books. it's usually so self-evident, i don't feel there's much need to get into story arcs and broad patterns. i mean, no reason to get too deep in the theory or narratives when the female characters are all running around in lingerie.

people will inevitably quibble over the deeper meaning there, too, probably arguing that all comic characters are misproportioned or overmuscular or oversexualized or what have you, but that angle just seems much more straightforward to me. it's one of those things that you can either admit, or not. the people who don't probably can't be convinced by silly things like nuance.
posted by spiderwire at 6:13 PM on July 12, 2008


I'd certainly say that "WTF, why are all the female characters second teir characters?" is a stronger case than "WTF, second tier female characters keep on getting screwed over!", because if you're supporting cast you're just asking to be pathos.
posted by Artw at 7:04 PM on July 12, 2008


And the answer there is mostly, I think, inertia, as even new top tier male characters since the '60s are relatively rare.
posted by klangklangston at 8:15 PM on July 12, 2008


Batman? Second?

NO.
posted by billypilgrim at 9:25 PM on July 12, 2008


Don't worry. In the last couple of pages of the poll, we'll find out that Batman was only feigning second to lull Supes into a false sense of security.
posted by cortex at 9:36 PM on July 12, 2008 [5 favorites]


Superman vs. Batman is always an interesting matchup.

Depends on the terms of the matchup. I know lots of people think Batman will usually win, but that's always sounded silly. Hell, he can fly, giving him a huge advantage, can't be easily hurt and has offensive capabilities. Bats would be toast
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:38 PM on July 12, 2008


Batman is ALWAYS prepared.

Not for tops comics character polls though.
posted by Artw at 9:51 PM on July 12, 2008


Also, Batman is completely fucking psychotic.
posted by cortex at 9:57 PM on July 12, 2008


Superman, on the other hand, is nice - as completely chilled, laid back and unpsychotic as can be.
posted by Artw at 10:08 PM on July 12, 2008


Batman fucking wins. You know why?
"You sold us out, Clark. You gave them the power that should have been ours. Just like your parents taught you. My parents taught me a different lesson... lying on this street... shaking in deep shock... dying for no reason at all. They showed me that the world only makes sense when you force it to. [ . . . ]

"I want you to remember my hand at your throat. I want you to remember the one man who beat you."


—Bruce Wayne to Clark Kent, The Dark Knight Returns
At the end of the day, Superman is Achilles, and Batman is Odysseus. You never forget which one is more powerful in combat; but you also never forget who holds all the cards.
posted by spiderwire at 11:25 PM on July 12, 2008 [2 favorites]


The only people under 50 who've ever even seen Astroboy are true otaku with a serious historic bent. It was seminal, yes, but hardly an enduring great

There has been some renewed interest in Astroboy since Naoki Urasawa started Pluto. But more to the point, why shouldn't the opinions of the 50-plus crowd count? Astroboy meant more to an entire generation of Japanese than Superman ever did to Americans. If Superman gets the top spot, Astroboy definitely deserves a place on the list.

I do agree that Doraemon would be a better choice though. Now that's a true icon for much of East Asia.
posted by fatehunter at 12:45 AM on July 13, 2008


3. John Constantine

Who?!
posted by raygirvan at 5:02 AM on July 13, 2008


This guy, ray.
posted by Eideteker at 5:07 AM on July 13, 2008


—Bruce Wayne to Clark Kent, The Dark Knight Returns

Doesn't count, since Bats got Green Arrow to shoot the kryponite at Sups, so Bats had help, see.

It that specific matchup, where Batman has specifically planned the matchup for years and gotten hold of some kypronite and someone else who could deliver it, and a robotic suit and Sups is arrogant and lazy with his power, while trying not to hurt Bats whom he feels sorry for and really doesn't want to win against, yeah, it's possible. Unlikely, but possible.

Batman is ALWAYS prepared.
Against an aerial assault with heat vision? Riiiiiiiight.

My parents taught me a different lesson... lying on this street... shaking in deep shock... dying for no reason at all.

I've always had a problem with the idea that Sups would be that much of a boy scout. Growing up a farm, he'd be well aquatinted with killing things and the practical use of doing so in certain situations.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:08 AM on July 13, 2008


Batman's networking savvy is one of his skills, Brandon. The obsessive channeling of childhood trauma into overpreparedness for hypothetical future conflicts, another.
posted by cortex at 6:38 AM on July 13, 2008


Batman's networking savvy is one of his skills, Brandon.

Got that. But if we're going to argue who would win in a matchup and then let Batman bring in whoever, that's really not a matchup, is it?

If you want to call that unconventional thinking and a sign of Batmans tactical brilliance, that's fine, I'm not saying Batman could never beat Superman, just that it would be highly unlikely.

into overpreparedness for hypothetical future conflicts

I haven't read much Superman or Batman and don't really care about either, they both seem silly, even for superheroes. The whole Batman mythos might work on regular criminals, 'cause they're human. Supes has nothing for fear from some guy in long underwear.

They showed me that the world only makes sense when you force it to. [ . . . ]

Clark learned the same lesson and spends most of "The Dark Knight Returns" doing just that, flying and making the world fit his vision of what it should be.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:22 AM on July 13, 2008


Well, I think that it is true that Batman is always prepared for future conflicts. And, I'm sure that he has a stockpile of all the kinds of kryptonite. So, yes, he had Green Arrow help him, but I think with his cunning and abilities he would be able to deliver Superman a kryptonite sandwich all on his own.
posted by josher71 at 7:55 AM on July 13, 2008


Well, I think that it is true that Batman is always prepared for future conflicts.

That's planning for the future, then there's planning correctly for the future, which means you're actually prepared for it, you know?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:22 AM on July 13, 2008


Dropping dead from a heart attack is not the same as winning a fight, even if it's petend.

Also it's basically an Elseworld.
posted by Artw at 8:52 AM on July 13, 2008


Also it's basically an Elseworld.

And fictional too, I think.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:05 AM on July 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


It's been awhile since I read "The Dark Knight Returns" but wasn't Superman also severely weakened from taking a nuclear blast head-on? Was that also part of Batman's plan, or was it the only thing keeping Superman from cooking his face from the safety of the ionosphere?
posted by Donnie VandenBos at 10:25 AM on July 13, 2008


Doesn't count, since Bats got Green Arrow to shoot the kryponite at Sups, so Bats had help, see.

The lesson here being that Clark isn't willing to play dirty -- which is a disadvantage.

It that specific matchup, where Batman has specifically planned the matchup for years and gotten hold of some kypronite and someone else who could deliver it, and a robotic suit and Sups is arrogant and lazy with his power, while trying not to hurt Bats whom he feels sorry for and really doesn't want to win against, yeah, it's possible. Unlikely, but possible.

Which were all elements of Batman's plan -- taking advantage of the fact that Superman would try to talk him down first (even though his ears were blocked), etc.

Or think about it this way -- Batman mentions that the Kryptonite took years to get, which means he's been planning to kill Superman the entire time. Just in case. Because Batman's freaking cold. C'mon, he makes Lex Luthor look like a Boy Scout.

It's been awhile since I read "The Dark Knight Returns" but wasn't Superman also severely weakened from taking a nuclear blast head-on? Was that also part of Batman's plan, or was it the only thing keeping Superman from cooking his face from the safety of the ionosphere?

The implication is that Superman's not at full strength, but that Batman's plan accounts for that by testing him with the barrage of guided missiles.
posted by spiderwire at 10:40 AM on July 13, 2008


If Superman was in the ionosphere it is very possible that Batman has a bat satellite with kryptonite spray. Or something. Ahem.
posted by josher71 at 10:40 AM on July 13, 2008


Because Batman's freaking cold.

Yeah, but everyone knows that and the story in Dark Knight clearly indicates that there was a major falling out and Sups clearly knows that Bats hates him.

I get that the entire story is about Batmans brilliant craziness, methodical planning with immense resources at his disposal. I just don't buy it. Sups would have known not to screw around with Bats and just take him out, probably at the point where Sups burns the word "Where?" in the ground from the sky, asking Bats for where he wants their confrontation to take place.

Again, I get that Sups is played as a Boy Scout, that he was adhering to gallant principles (he didn't really want to fight Bruce and if he had to, then he sure didn't want to hurt him) which Batman exploits to his advantage. Hell, even Bats knew he couldn't last in a fight long term, he had to distract and then try to at least stun Sups quickly or he was toast.

It just doesn't make sense.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:22 AM on July 13, 2008


These superhero threads always devolve into Batman vs. Superman fights, don't they?

This page has an interesting run-down of Batman's relation with kryptonite in various canons. Here's my favorite:

The Batman/Superman comic combines the idealistic and cynical versions: after a long-term mission to destroy all the kryptonite on Earth, Superman saves one peice [sic], which he gives to Batman for emergencies. Batman takes it to a lead-lined room in the deepest area of the Batcave... which is already filled with multiple kinds of kryptonite!
posted by painquale at 11:28 AM on July 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


At the heart of every conflict, at the center of every philosophy, in the deep, burning inner recesses of existence itself, there exists only the eternal singularity of Batman vs. Superman.

And Batman totally fuckin' wins.

Cause I said so.
posted by billypilgrim at 1:06 PM on July 13, 2008


Oh and while we are at it The Thing would beat The Hulk!
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 1:41 PM on July 13, 2008


No Rogue Trooper or Slaine? Or, seriously, The fucking Phantom? Fail.
posted by turgid dahlia at 5:00 PM on July 13, 2008


These superhero threads always devolve into Batman vs. Superman fights, don't they?

I held out for a while -- and I consistently instigate this particular debate -- but their ranking on this list probably makes it inevitable.

I am reading Pogo now.
posted by spiderwire at 5:28 PM on July 13, 2008


Slaine would beat Conan.
posted by turgid dahlia at 6:35 PM on July 13, 2008


Slaine is all ley-lines and bollocks now. Advantage: Robert E. Howard.
posted by Artw at 9:39 PM on July 13, 2008


Because Batman's freaking cold.
...
Yeah, but everyone knows that and the story in Dark Knight clearly indicates that there was a major falling out and Sups clearly knows that Bats hates him.


In the canon universe, there was recently this big JLA storyline about how Batman had set up safeguards to take out every single one of the major heroes, just in case. This only came to light when someone else used those safeguards for evil, and the JLA, predictably, was all, "OMG WTF BATMAN GTFO"

Part of the joy of the whole Batman mythos is that yes, he will always beat Superman, precisely because it's so unlikely; he's just a guy. No heat-vision, no super-strength, no flight. Just a dude who works hard at being the absolute best superhero he can be. The character, and his ability to always survive, to always best even the most powerful alien on earth, is a paean to humanity's potential.

One of my favorite all-time Batman stories is actually in the very beginning of Grant Morrison's JLA run. Martians take over the JLA, and because they've done their homework, they know how to beat every member of the team. Batman? They barely even worry about him, 'cause he doesn't even have powers. He's the easy one. If you haven't read it, I won't spoil exactly what happens, but I'm sure you can guess the general structure that ensues:

a) Shit gets awesome.
b) Batman kicks some ass.

In conclusion: WOO YEAH BATMAN

(full disclosure: I kinda actually like Nightwing a little more)
posted by Greg Nog at 8:59 AM on July 14, 2008


Interesting Scientific American article: Dark Knight Shift: Why Batman Could Exist--But Not for Long
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:30 AM on July 14, 2008


In the canon universe, there was recently this big JLA storyline about how Batman had set up safeguards to take out every single one of the major heroes, just in case. This only came to light when someone else used those safeguards for evil, and the JLA, predictably, was all, "OMG WTF BATMAN GTFO"

Come on, "Tower Of Babel" was absolutely awful. Especially compared to your later example of Grant Morrison's version of Batman in "New World Order" (in my opinion, the definitive example of how a Justice League Batman should be written).
posted by Donnie VandenBos at 2:39 PM on July 14, 2008


One for the Rogue Trooper fans
posted by Artw at 11:29 AM on July 15, 2008


Oh, I wholeheartedly agree with both your points, Donnie (Morrison does superhero writing better than anything else he does, if you ask me; as fun as hallucinogenic transdimensional silver-metal-fluid sister-fucking may occasionally be, the dude is consistently fantastic at writing Superpowered Melodrama). I'm just saying, in response to Brandon's earlier post about Dark Knight, that there are also examples of canon-universe Batman being ready to kill the other heroes, just in case.
posted by Greg Nog at 12:30 PM on July 15, 2008


He’s certainly writing the hell out of Superman at the moment. His current Batman run has never really gotten better than “sort-of-okay”.

All Star Superman would pretty much be my main exhibit for the case that Superman is number one.
posted by Artw at 12:44 PM on July 15, 2008


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